2019 VW Jetta will change the way you think about compact sedans
The buzz this year may be all about SUVs, but there's still a tremendous market for compact passenger cars, and that market segment has a new leader. Volkswagen has just taken the wraps off the new 2019 Jetta sedan, and this vehicle substantially raises the bar on luxury and performance in the economy class.
The new Jetta is based on VW's scalable modular architecture. It's the same platform that carries the compact Tiguan and mid-size Atlas SUVs, and it's the foundation of the Jetta's value proposition. The new Jetta is spacious and comfortable inside, very quiet on the road, and offers performance far beyond the numbers would lead you to expect.
The engine is a 1.4-liter turbocharged plant with 147 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. You can get that with a 6-speed manual in the base S trim, or with a 6-speed automatic in any trim. The manual offers the best performance, but you'll be surprised that a 1.4-liter engine can move the Jetta the way it does. This car is quick off the line and has plenty of power. Best of all, you'll get 30 MPG in city driving, and 40 MPG on the highway.
The Jetta also has a great interior and technology story. The front seats offer plenty of room for adults, and they're firm and supportive. The cabin is efficient and feels good. It's a no-nonsense package, and even the most basic trim offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you have access to GPS navigation, your music library, Internet connectivity, and many convenient apps. As you move up the trim list, you can choose features such as heated and ventilated seats, 10-color ambient lighting, and a 400-watt Beats Audio system that sounds as good as the premium audio systems in any luxury car.
The real genius of the Jetta is that you can buy the base trim for less than $20,000 and not feel like you're in the penalty box. But the top SEL Premium trim is still well under $30,000 and offers all the luxury goodies, and there are three mid-level trims at various prices in between.
On the road, the new Jetta is a joy to drive. It's peppy, fast, and feels absolutely solid . Compared to other compacts, you'll recognize that the Jetta is a real step up. The cabin is quiet even on rough road surfaces, and the steering is responsive while the car always feels stable.
The 2019 Jetta will be available in the next few months, and carries a 6-year, 72,000 mile warranty. If you are looking for a compact sedan this year, the 2019 VW Jetta should be at the top of your test drive list.
2019 Volkswagen Jetta
Base price: $19,395
Price as tested: $27,795
Type: Compact sedan
Engine: 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder (147 hp, 184 lbs-ft)
Transmissions: 6-speed automatic; 6-speed manual
EPA estimated mileage: 30/40
Overall length: 185.1 inches
Curb weight: 3,031 pounds
Final assembly: Puebla, Mexico